At this time last year, Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell landed his first career XC1 podium finish in South Carolina, igniting a consistent string of podium finishes throughout the rest of his rookie season. This year, Russell finds himself in a slightly different position, as the 22-year-old heads into this weekend’s VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC
with two consecutive wins under his belt and for the first time in his XC1 career, holds the upper hand on teammate and defending champion Charlie Mullins.
Current points leader Paul Whibley (2) is seen here battling Charlie Mullins (112) at Westgate River Ranch.
It’s AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley who tops the championship point standings, though, as the 2009 GNCC champ has posted the most consistent score of them all with 1-3-2 finishes so far. Russell suffered from an injury in round one that caused him to finish back in twelfth, and Mullins salvaged a sixth place in North Carolina while battling a health issue all day, which makes for an even closer battle in this year’s title chase. Perhaps the most interesting twist could actually come from the XC2 Pro Lites class, in the form of 17-year-old Steward Baylor Jr.
Baylor shook the pits of the FMF Steele Creek GNCC two weeks ago after the young rider put his KTM 250 two-stroke into the overall lead on adjusted time in the early stages of the three-hour race, eventually topping Whibley by less than two seconds for second overall. A South Carolina native, Baylor is feeling confident heading into his home turf at the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck this weekend.
South Carolina native and defending XC2 Pro Lites champ Steward Baylor Jr leads his class with three straight wins.
Shenandoah Honda/Offroadchampion’s Thad DuVall currently sits fourth in the overall standings with some of the most consistent finishes the West Virginia racer has ever landed this early in the season. Factory FMF/KTM’s Cory Buttrick put himself on top of the podium at round three and continues to work into the groove as the season progresses, currently sitting only two points below DuVall for fifth place in the overall standings.
North Carolina’s Jesse Robinson continues to put his Husaberg 250 two-stroke up front in the XC2 Pro Lites class, moving into second place in the overall standings. UK native Jason Thomas continues to work towards his first win of the season, although the Lites veteran has experienced injuries so far this season.
Spectator passes run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateur racers and the top Women riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m.
To get to Big Buck, take I-26 to Exit 44, then to Highway 49 North 7 Miles and look for the signs. For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com
or call 304-284-0084.
About GNCC Racing:
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,500 riders through tracks ranging in length from ten to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed and draw talent from all over the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised and airs every week on NBC Sports Network. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com